Greubel Forsey: A Microbrand That Can Rival Big Names

Greubel Forsey

When talking about watches, it is so easy to get caught up in big brands like Patek Philippe, Omega, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Understandably so, it’s only natural for us to trust these tried-and-tested companies with a long history in watchmaking. Still, we shouldn’t write off some of the promising microbrands that have the potential to rival these big brands. In fact, a few names are consistently releasing quality pieces. One of them is Greubel Forsey.

Greubel Forsey may be new in the game, but they quickly made a name for themselves. Truth be told, they are starting to catch the attention of watch enthusiasts. They are located in Switzerland and they specialise in high-end complicated watches. So if you’re into tourbillons, GMTs, and precise timekeeping, Greubel Forsey should be on your radar.

Meet Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have both been working together for a watch supplier since 1992. They handled complicated movements, which gave them a lot of experience in watchmaking. So in 2004, they decided to launch their own brand at BaselWorld with the Double Tourbillon 30°.

An ethos that the duo follow is that not everything has been invented in horology. With this in mind, they strive to introduce something new to the watchmaking community with a level of excellence that could compete with renowned watchmakers.

Since 2004, Greubel and Forsey have both created 30 original and unique calibres. They also have seven fundamental inventions that were developed in their laboratory. These are the Double Tourbillon 30°, Quadruple Tourbillon, Tourbillon 24 Secondes, Balancier Spiral Binôme, Différentiel d’Egalité, Double Balancier, and Le Computeur Mécanique. And each of these inventions is a step towards the advancement of horology.

Best Greubel Forsey Watches

Check out the well-curated lineup of Greubel Forsey. Each model features high-complications and innovations that can go against fine watchmakers. 

1. Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30°

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30°

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Specs:

  • Case material: Available in various precious metals
  • Case dimension: 49.95mm
  • Movement: Inclined double tourbillon
  • Power reserve: 120 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

The brand’s first invention was made in honour of famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. He invented the tourbillon, so in homage, Greubel Forsey released their own Double Tourbillon 30°. It features a tourbillon cage, which is inclined at 30° and rotates in 1 minute. This tourbillon is located inside another cage which rotates in 4 minutes. The watchmakers did this to minimise the gravity-induced errors on the oscillator.

On the dial, you’ll see the watch complications in all their glory, thanks to its open-worked layout and sapphire enclosure. The sapphire crystal lets in a lot of light into the case, which means that the colours really pop out. Furthermore, the sides of the case are also see-through so you can see the edges of the movement.

Another special thing about this watch is that each part is hand-finished and every corner of the watch has been given a high level of attention. For instance, the central post that bears the hands takes a week to accomplish. This isn’t including the time needed to hand-finish it. Once you get your hands on this watch, it is obvious how much effort was given into its production. This is one of the things that makes Greubel Forsey stand out among the rest.

2. Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT

Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT

Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT Specs:

  • Case material: White gold
  • Case dimension: 46.5mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

Greubel Forsey not only doubles but quadruples on the tourbillon. To be specific, the watch features two double tourbillons that are based on the Double Tourbillon 30º. Each of the tourbillons is connected independently to a spherical differential. This is responsible for the precise and reliable timing rate of the watch.

To boot, they also threw in a GMT function to the equation. That’s why you’ll see a rotating globe on the dial. And I have to admit, the Earth model is a nice addition as its metallic blue colour blends in well with the white gold. Also, the globe has a crystal sapphire adjacent to it so the wearer gets a view of the equator and the southern hemisphere.

Flipping the watch over, you’ll see the UTC time on a disc. If you need a reminder about which places observe DST, the disc indicates which ones do. Cities that observe DST are displayed in a lighter shade while the ones that don’t come in a darker colour. This is a really helpful feature if you’re the type who travels regularly.

With the Quadruple Tourbillon GMT, Greubel Forsey combines their signature movement with a well-known watch complication. If you’re looking to get a two-timezone watch with an interesting spin, this watch ticks all the right boxes and I’m sure it will look good beside your World Timers like the Nomos Zurich World Time

3. Greubel Forsey GMT Earth

Greubel Forsey GMT Earth

Greubel Forsey GMT Earth Specs:

  • Case material: White gold
  • Case dimension: 45.5mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

The Greubel Forsey GMT Earth is a lot like the previous model minus the double tourbillon. However, it is still as interesting nonetheless. In fact, it is one of the most complicated models made by the brand. But what makes it different from other GMT models like the Rolex GMT Master II and the Chopard L.U.C.?

For one, you get a 360° view of the northern and southern hemisphere via the 3D Earth on the dial. The crystal that covers the dial contains a multi-level sapphire chapter ring. Moreover, the case is also decorated with the brand’s signature “statement of purpose” engraving. At the back of the case, you can see 24 time zones displayed with the summer and winter times. The GMT function of this watch is not only useful but also fun to look at.

In terms of movement, it runs on a hand-wound calibre that can power the watch for 72 hours. This movement contains a total of 453 parts. To boot, it uses a 24-second tourbillon that is inclined at a 25° angle. 

There is no doubt that the Greubel Forsey GMT Earth is a different breed of GMT watch. Its jaw-dropping looks, as well as its intricate movement, are too difficult to pass up on. This is truly a watch enthusiast’s dream timepiece.

4. Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité

Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité

Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité Specs:

  • Case material: White gold
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-hound
  • Power reserve: 60 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

What’s special about Greubel Forsey is how meticulously their watches are created to achieve extreme precision. One of the highlights of the Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité is its ability to distribute power from the mainspring barrel to the regulating organ, which provides a constant balance amplitude. It also features dead-beat seconds, which makes it easier for the owner to read the time precisely.

The dial sports a cleaner look compared with other models of the brand. In fact, it only contains the hands, a power reserve indicator, and a deadbeat seconds sub-dial. Likewise, the finishing is flawless and artisanal. And on top of it all is a high-domed sapphire crystal that protects this masterpiece.

Another highlight that makes this watch special is the hacking feature or balance brake. This lever stops the balance wheel as well as the hands of the watch. Besides that, there is also a zero-reset feature where you can send the seconds hand back to the 12 o’clock position. When these two features work together, the user can adjust the time up to the last second. This feat can only be seen in notable timepieces like A. Lange & Söhne.

The Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité is for people who take the art of precise timekeeping seriously. Apart from its well-researched mechanism, this watch boasts outstanding finish and design.

5. Greubel Forsey GMT Sport

Greubel Forsey GMT Sport

Greubel Forsey GMT Sport Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 45mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can wear the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport watch during physical activities. Stephen Forsey himself clarified that this timepiece is not exactly a sports watch despite its name. However, it is more suitable for casual wear compared to the other models in the lineup.

First up, the case takes on an interesting shape when viewed from the side. It is arched and can be likened to a Pringle for ergonomics and wrist comfort. The crystal is also coated with anti-reflective coating so you wouldn’t have a hard time viewing the watch from different angles. And instead of precious metals, Greubel Forsey opted for titanium for durability and a lightweight feel.

Beneath the sporty exterior is the Greubel Forsey GMT Tourbillon. It is inclined at a 25 ° angle and rotates once every 24 seconds. Among its features are a GMT indicator, a power-reserve indicator, and a day/night indicator. It also boasts a half-globe at the left side of the dial that rotates over the day. 

All things considered, the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport is targeted to enthusiasts who want to wear their high-complication watches casually. And although it is not advertised as a sports watch, you don’t have to worry about its durability and robustness.

6. Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition Historique

Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition Historique

Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition Historique Specs:

  • Case material: Platinum
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

If you think that the previous Greubel Forsey models are eye candies, then wait until you see the Art Piece Edition Historique. This piece is a melting pot of the brand’s best ideas from the past 15 years. That being said, it features a wide-open heart where you can see a three-dimensional construction of the watch.

Being an art piece, this watch emphasises aesthetics over legibility. In fact, it is difficult to tell which one is the hour hand. Instead, the dial boasts an extravagantly-etched plate with philosophical words from Greubel Forsey. Meanwhile, a cutaway at the left side reveals the double tourbillon regulator of the watch. And just above that is a sub-dial for the running seconds.

While most of the watch was inspired by Greubel Forsey’s past, its movement is new. It is a variation of the Double Tourbillon 30°, which is one of the first inventions of the brand. Furthermore, this calibre has a whopping 475 parts and offers optimal chronometric performance, thanks to its fast-rotating barrels.

If I didn’t know better, I would think that the Art Piece Edition Historique belongs to a museum. Its design is one of a kind and will certainly appeal to art lovers and watch enthusiasts alike.

7. Greubel Forsey Balancier S

Greubel Forsey Balancier S

Greubel Forsey Balancier S Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 43mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

The Greubel Forsey Balancier S is one of the brand’s sportier models. In fact, it looks a lot like the GMT Sport with the same titanium case and 100m water resistance rating. To add, it also uses the same distorted Pringle-like case of the previous watch. The difference is that the Balancier S is a time-only movement and is a tad smaller.

At the 7 o’clock position, you can see the large inclined balance wheel, which was developed in the Greubel Forsey Atelier. What makes it different is that it is oversized at 12.6mm and is angled at 30°. These details guarantee outstanding chronometric performance and superb timekeeping. Furthermore, seeing this in action is a visual treat to anyone who appreciates the complexity of watch movements.

Unlike the other models, you wouldn’t see much at the back. Apart from having a simpler movement, the back is covered. However, you’ll see that the plate is nicely finished with jewels in gold chatons. Moreover, the bridges have mirror-polished bevels.

Lastly, the Balancier S is coupled with a black rubber strap. It is integrated with the case for both aesthetics and maximum comfort. All things considered, this watch is truly a perfect balance of sportiness and elegance and it is a perfect addition to a curated collection of Royal Oaks and Ingenieurs.

8. Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 43.5mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

For a lot of watchmakers, the Grande Sonnerie is the apex of fine watchmaking. In fact, only the most skilled brands like Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet have achieved this feat. So after more than a decade of working hard, the pair was able to assemble all 935 parts of their first Grande Sonnerie model.

Owners can choose three modes for this timepiece. The first one is the Grande Sonnerie which strikes the hours as well as the quarters in passing. The second mode is called Petite Sonnerie where the movement chimes only the hours in passing. Lastly, the Silence mode keeps the watch quiet. A titanium acoustic resonance cage makes the chimes sound rich and full, so hearing the alarm is pleasant to the ears.

Another thing to note about this watch is its compactness. Despite having one of the most complicated features, this Grande Sonnerie is only 43.5mm in diameter and 15.2mm in height. In fact, it is comparable to the size of the Tourbillon 24 seconds. It just goes to show how much planning went into its production.

You can say that this timepiece demonstrates Greubel Forsey at its best. So much care was put into the architectural balance of the parts. Both Greubel and Forsey should be proud of themselves as this milestone is a one-of-a-kind achievement.

9. Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1

Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1

Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1 Specs:

  • Case material: White gold
  • Case dimension: 43.5mm
  • Movement: Mechanical hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 60 hours
  • Water resistance: 30m

Last but not least is a piece that showcases the brand’s dedication to making handmade watches. The aptly named Hand Made 1 is made out of 95% handmade parts. In fact, the 5% which are not handmade are only the spring bars, sapphire crystals, strap, and case gaskets, which are difficult to make by hand.

To show off its movement, the dial boasts a cutaway at the bottom right part. As seen, its bridges are simple, and the whole aesthetic is what some call “vintage architectural”. Meanwhile, the chapter rings are hand-enamelled and paired with a set of flame-blued steel hands for a pop of colour. Lastly, instead of the usual “Swiss Made” inscription at 6 o’clock, you’ll see “Hand Made” instead.

Whether you’re a watch expert or not, it’s obvious how much effort was put into making a single Hand Made 1. It takes around 6,000 hours just to create a single unit. For a different perspective, it translates to 250 days. In this day and age where machines do a lot of work on watches, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a 95% handmade timepiece.

Final Notes

Greubel Forsey is dedicated to researching about improving timekeeping, and it is evident in each of their watch models. They handle high-complication movements that are seen in only the finest models. I’m pretty sure that in time, the names Greubel and Forsey will go up the ranks of top horology names like Breguet and Patek Philippe.


While you’re here, check out another promising watch microbrand, Baltic

Photo credits: All photos courtesy of Greubel Forsey.

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